World No. 7 Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia completed his date with destiny after bagging his first-ever Asian title in men’s singles over Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie, 21-17, 23-21, at the SMART Badminton Asia Championships 2022, Sunday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex in Muntinlupa City.
Lee Zii Jia gained 12,000 points for BWF World Rankings to create some separation over the eighth-ranked Christie who received 10,200. The other semifinalists in China’s Weng Hong Yang and Indonesia’s Chico Auta Dwi Wardoyo bagged 8,400 points each.
Almost two years and seven months after getting his first-ever Southeast Asian Games gold in this very same venue, Lee made another first with this Asian title.
“This is a very special place for me,” Lee shared. “I would like to thank the fans in the Philippines and around the world, especially my hometown, Malaysia, for the support. I think this is the best present for them. This is how I repay them, and hopefully, more to come.”
The 24-year-old Malaysian needed to fend off Christie twice in either frame, where he got the first set on errors of the Indonesian.
Christie threatened to force a deciding set after a four-point swing saw him at game point. Miscues late in the match for the 2018 Asian Games champion then leveled the set at 22, before Lee pocketed the last two points that sealed the title in his favor.
“Jonatan was trying his best to close out the game in the second set, but I told myself to remain calm in the situation,” the 2022 All-England champion said.
The tournament is made possible by SMART, MVP Sports Foundation, Li-Ning, Cignal, TV5, One Sports, Robinson’s Land, Premium Megastructure Inc., Philippine Badminton Association, Badminton Asia, the Philippine Olympic Committee, the Philippine Sports Commission, and Muntinlupa Mayor Fresnedi and the City of Muntinlupa.